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Rinland: Contributing to Velociudad´s Driver Management

Sergio Rinland is an argentine engineer best known for his work in Formula One. He worked as Chief Designer for Benetton and Sauber respectively 1996 through 2001. He is currently Owner and Managing Director of the Automotive Engineering and Management consulting company Astauto Ltd. Throughout his career, Rinland has mentored many young argentine drivers making their initial steps in Europe and currently serves as lead consultant for the Velociudad Driver Management Program.

Which is the right moment for a young argentine driver to compete in European competitions?
Motorsport is constantly evolving, and the drivers starting age has recently decreased considerably. That’s why you have to discover them in local kart categories and then take them abroad no later than age 16. They must be in good company, which is not always easy for young argentines as they are far from home. This dynamic requires them to be especially well prepared mentally, more so than Europeans.

Why is it important for Argentine motorsport to develop programs like the “Driver Management” Velociudad is presenting?
It’s of great importance. I’ve been pleading for a long time for national motorsport program to support Argentine drivers. Just like Velociudad Speedcity supports Eric Lichtenstein, companies and organizations should do the same with-long term plans.

As Eric´s Lichtenstein´s mentor, what do you consider to be his main attributes?
Eric has different skills that are worth mentioning. I have been in motorsport for many years and must say that his raw driving talent and racing intelligence is very hard to come by. He’s an adaptable kid, mature, studious and a fast learner both technically and logistically. He diligently trains every day, has excellent physical fitness, and is still capable of reaching new heights. Much of his potential remains untapped.

What categories should drivers experience so as to reach the most important international competitions?
MSA Formula Ford is an ideal competition for kart youngsters to accumulate driving experience because the cars do not have wings that create aerodynamic downforce. In my opinion the gradual approach is most effective. It is good for them to begin understanding the suspension and acquiring the mechanical feel of Formula cars prior to incorporating the wings. Once they get a decent grip over mechanics, Formula 3 and GP3 Series would be the next logistical step.

What is your opinion about Eric Lichtenstein’s performance at the British Formula Ford?
Thus far, Eric surpassed everyone´s expectations. As a 17 year old rookie, he’s among the top three drivers in the series and improves each race in which he competes. His opponents respect him, and his performance is so far comparable with some of the best drivers this sport has seen.

Juan Emilio de Antón
Director de comunicación
Velociudad Speedcity Circuit

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